Fighting Talk

John Wagner George Sell Uploaded

Official statements regarding financial matters from big hospitality companies, particularly US organisations, are usually dense and dry affairs, packed with more acronyms than an episode of Line of Duty and often impenetrable reams of figures.

Extended Stay America's recent response to shareholder objections concerning its proposed $6 billion acquisition by a JV made up of of Blackstone and Starwood Capital has certainly broken the mould in that respect.

In addressing criticism of the sale's proposed price per share, its timing and the due diligence behind it, ESA has come out swinging, issuing a salvo of  damning words and phrases seldom seen in financial comms, including "ill advised", "ill conceived", "irresponsible", "flawed and hypocritical", and "patently false".

Most of these barbs were directed at Tarsadia Capital, one of ESA's largest shareholders, which has filed a preliminary proxy statement to solicit votes against the proposed sale.

I can't imagine the statement will go unanswered, so we can expect some more uncharacteristically engaging statements from both sides in the run up to June 8, when the shareholder vote takes place. Tarsadia has drawn quite a bit of media attention to the sale, but whether its case is strong enough to put shareholders off pocketing $19.50 per unit remains to be seen.



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